Community Intelligence Brief: September 13, 2023

September 13, 2023


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School Board’s ‘Equity’ Cull of Anne Frank’s Diary, Other Older Books Is Offensive: Ontario Education Minister

Parents, students and community members have been looking for answers after countless books published in 2008 or earlier were reportedly removed from Peel District School Board libraries as part of a new process intended to ensure library books are inclusive. In a letter to PDSB Director of Education Rashmi Swarup, FSWC expressed deep concern over the reports, particularly the removal of books with historical significance like Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, calling on the board to address concerns.

Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said he was strongly opposed to the board weeding out books of a previous age which deserve to be read, stating, “Ontario is committed to ensuring that the addition of new books better reflects the rich diversity of our communities. It is offensive, illogical and counterintuitive to remove books from years past that educate students on Canada’s history, antisemitism or celebrated literary classics." The PDSB has since issued a statement.

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Irwin Cotler, Who Advocated for Natan Sharansky and Nelson Mandela, Awarded Israel’s Presidential Medal of Honor

Irwin Cotler, Canada's former justice minister and current Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, was awarded Israel's Presidential Medal of Honor last week. The ceremony was hosted by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who awarded prizes to 13 people who were selected for having made “an extraordinary contribution to the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and all humanity.”

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Israel Names Michal Cotler-Wunsh as Antisemitism Envoy

Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a Canadian-Israeli human rights lawyer and former lawmaker for the Blue and White Party, was announced today as Israel's new Special Envoy for Combatting Antisemitism. In a statement shared online, she vowed to “continue serving the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the universal principles of life and liberty for all to comprehensively identify and combat the scourge of antisemitism in all its forms.”

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Israeli Aid Groups Assist Morocco in Quake Aftermath

Israeli humanitarian aid groups SmartAID, IsraAID, United Hatzalah and NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief have dispatched teams to Morocco to help the locals in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake that rocked the African country over the weekend.

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Paris Mayor Strips Palestinian President Abbas of Honour Over Holocaust Remarks

In a letter to Mahmoud Abbas, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo declared that the Palestinian president could no longer hold the Grand Vermeil medal following his antisemitic remarks at a recent Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting. "The comments you made are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah," she said in a letter to Abbas. "You can therefore no longer hold this distinction."

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Newly Discovered Document Lists More Than 3,000 Jews the Catholic Church Sheltered from Nazis

Documentation discovered at Vatican City's Pontifical Biblical Institute appears to confirm that Catholic convents and monasteries sheltered more than 3,000 Jews from the Holocaust, with the documents containing the names of people who have been verified to be Jews. This discovery comes after decades of historians battling over how to interpret the actions of Pope Pius XII, arguing he was indifferent to the fate of Jews during the Holocaust.

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Vatican Beatifies Polish Family Executed by Nazis in World War II

Representatives for the Vatican held an unprecedented beatification of a Polish family of nine, the Ulmas, who were executed by the Nazis for sheltering Jews during the Holocaust. At the Vatican, Pope Francis said the family “represented a ray of light in the darkness” of the war and should be a model for everyone in "doing good and in the service of those in need.”

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1 in 3 US Jewish College Students Has Seen or Experienced Antisemitism, Survey Says

Nearly one in three current Jewish college students has witnessed or experienced some form of antisemitism on campus, according to a new survey released by Jewish on Campus, a student-founded antisemitism watchdog group.

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The History of Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories, from the Rothschilds to George Soros

In his book Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories, out Sept. 19, author Mike Rothschild, who has no relation to the famous Rothschild family, tracks how this one wealthy family became the subject of myriad far-right conspiracies and debunks them in his book. Time magazine recently talked to Rothschild.

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Holocaust Survivor Eva Fahidi-Pusztai, Who Warned of Far-Right Populism in Europe, Dies at Age 97

In a statement, the International Auschwitz Committee said Eva Fahidi-Pusztai, a Holocaust survivor who spent the late years of her life warning of the re-emergence of far-right populism and discrimination against minorities across Europe, died on Monday at the age of 97.

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If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email

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